How to start a blog

How To Start A Blog: A Simple Beginners Guide (2021)

Table of Contents

Starting a blog is like embarking on a trip around the world: it can be a stunning, empowering, and truly life-altering adventure, as long as you’re willing to genuinely engage. The good news is, if you can commit to pouring some good old-fashioned hard work into your blog, you can bet that it will pay off ten-fold in the long run!

 

The truth of the matter is that achieving success with blogging requires dedication, but if you can supply that, you’ve already conquered the most difficult part of the process. Effectively starting a blog from scratch can be achieved in just a few simple steps, and this guide will walk you through each of them.

 

So let’s go ahead and get started!

 

How to Start A Blog In 7 Easy Steps

 

Step 1: Choose A Niche

 

Before you can jump into the nitty-gritty aspects of blogging like content creation, you need to stay in a more conceptual space and think about the niche that you want to break into, or in other words the subject your blog will be about. Don’t rush through this initial phase, because it’s vital to the long-term success of your blog.

 

Think of choosing a niche as being similar to laying the foundation for a house that will eventually be your blog. If that foundation is flawed in any way, the house will inevitably come tumbling down. When you are attempting to start a blog that will eventually make money, you’re in it for the long haul, so you need a rock-solid foundation that will stand the test of time.

So, how can you choose a strong niche? 

 

Well, you want to pick an industry that is both interesting to you and to a wider audience. Choosing a niche that is generally appealing will help you build an audience right from the beginning, especially if you’re creating content that is designed to help solve specific problems with custom-tailored solutions. This means that you should try to choose a niche that’s broad enough to have pain points, but specialized enough to have focused solutions.  

 

You also want to choose a subject that genuinely interests you—the last thing you want is to get burnt out with your own blog in a couple of months. One of the most important things to remember as you navigate the waters of beginning your blog is simply that this journey ultimately has to be fulfilling to you before it can be enjoyable for anyone else. If you aren’t having fun writing your blog, no one else will have fun reading it.  

 

Lastly, before you get too serious about a potential niche, you must ask yourself: is it profitable? That is to say, is this an industry that people are willing to spend money in? If that answer is no, then it will be hard for you to make money off of a blog in that niche simply because there aren’t any transactions occurring there (although I’m a firm believer that anyone can break into a niche and make money, with the right setup). 

 

A good way to check if an industry is profitable and appealing to others, is to take into account the competition. If there’s a good amount of it, it’s a good indication that there’s a market for it (and vice versa). Another way to also check, is to do some keyword research—which can tell you the commercial value and traffic of the topics you’ll be discussing on your blog.

 

Picking your niche can certainly be time-consuming and frankly even frustrating, but once you’ve figured out what you’re going to write about, everything else will start to fall into place!


Step 2: Decide on a Blogging Platform

 

Once you’ve chosen your niche, the next step is to decide which blogging platform is best for you. As you’re still learning how to start a blog, it’s a good idea to choose a program that’s simple to use, while still offering all the different features you’ll need.

 

Some blogging platforms are open-source and require you to know how to code to customize your blog. If you’re not a confident coder, steer clear of these! Instead, choose a Content Management System (CMS). 

 

What Is a CMS? 

 

A Content Management System, or CMS, is a type of software used to create, manage, and edit digital content—it basically allows you to create a website without having to code it! 

 

What’s the Best Blogging Platform for Me?

 

Ask any blogger which blogging platform they use, and you’re most likely to hear the answer: WordPress.

 

WordPress is by far the most popular (CMS) platform on the market. It powers 35% of the Internet (and 60% of blogs), with over 660 new WordPress sites launched every day!

 

But why do so many people choose WordPress when starting a blog? Well a couple of reasons include: 

 

  • It’s completely free to use! All you have to pay for is hosting (which we’ll get into what this is in the next step)

  • It offers more than 54,000 free plugins (software that adds new functions to your WordPress site, a bit like an app) to use.

  • Easy to integrate with third-party sites—including your social media.

  • Thousands of free WordPress themes (designs) to choose from, making it easy to create a stand-out site.

  • Is SEO-friendly, with features such as SEO-friendly URLs and tags to boost your blog’s visibility, plus it has available SEO plugins to install.

 

Note that you don’t want to confuse WordPress.org with WordPress.com. While .org is the (CMS) blogging platform, .com is a hosting service provider (which we don’t recommend).

 

 

Step 3: Select a Hosting Provider

 

Now, in order for your readers to access your blog, you’ll need to select a hosting provider. A hosting provider basically enables you to launch your blog on the Internet and enables others to find it and read it. It goes in conjuction with your blogging platform (WordPress).

 

You can think of this process (of purchasing hosting) as renting a home on the internet for your blog. This is because when you purchase and register with a hosting provider, they give you the necessary storage space (in what are known as servers) that your blog needs for it’s data and files. 

 

The server then delivers all the data and files to a user whenever they seek to access your blog—making it possible for users to see and visit your blog! Amazing right? 

 

Which Hosting Provider Do We Recommend? 

 

Affiliate Disclosure: Please know that we’re proud affiliates of some of the products we recommend below. Meaning that if you decide to purchase through our link, we will be compensated by the company, at no additional cost to you.

 

Choosing a hosting provider that gives you the support and necessary tools to help your blog thrive online is definitely important! 

 

Which is why we recommend and believe in the web hosting provider, Bluehost. In fact, it’s what hosts the very same site you’re on right now and 2 million others on the internet!

 

But why do we recommend Bluehost? Well: 

 

  • WordPress.org recommends them and is automatically installed when you sign up for Bluehost (no need to download anything)

  • Has a 24/7 customer support help center there to assist you

  • As previously mentioned, it’s one of the most popular hosting providers, hosting over 2+ million websites

 

What’s great as well is the pricing that comes when you sign up with Bluehost. Because being a beginner, we know investing a lot of money may sound a bit frightening. But Bluehost does offer various affordable plans.

 

Bluehost Pricing

 

Their selection of plans are tailored to meet different needs. But for the most part, if you’re a beginner, the basic plan is more than enough (it’s the same plan we got started with for our own blog).

 

Also, it’s worth mentioning that when you sign up with Bluehost, you receive a FREE domain for the first year, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing one elsewhere. 

 

Which will actually take us to our next step!

 

Step 4: Choose a Domain Name

 

The next step in learning how to start a blog—and it’s an essential one—is to choose your domain name. Your domain name is the web address that people will use to access your blog (think of it as your home’s address). It also will help to create a sense of brand identity.

 

When choosing a domain name, the only requirement is that each blog or site must have a unique one. However, although domain names can technically include any combination of letters and numbers, most follow a simple and easily recognizable format. For example, www.amazon.com or www.wordpress.org.

 

To help, below we’ve included some recommended practices to follow when choosing your domain name. They include:

 

  • Keeping it simple. Domain names with numerous special characters or numbers are much more difficult to remember than straightforward words or phrases. Your users are less likely to remember the domain name and look it up if it’s a string of random letters and numbers.

 

  • Use the .com extension. This format is the most widely recognized and will be easier for your online visitors to remember. 

 

  • Choose a domain name relevant to your niche. However, this doesn’t mean opting for super-specific words, which could make it difficult for you to branch out later. Instead, choose a simple and easily identifiable domain name that will help give your web traffic a flavor of your subject matter.

 

What To Do Once You’ve Decided On a Domain Name

 

So if you’ve decide to go with our recommended provider and have chosen a plan already, you’ll see that what comes next is to create your domain name (or use one you already own).

 

Choose a Domain Name—Bluehost

And if by chance your domain isn’t available, don’t feel pressured into making a snap decision. Bluehost allows you to set up the rest of your blog and return to the domain name once you’ve had more time to think.

 

Purchasing Web Hosting 

 

After you’ve decided on a domain name (or have decided to do it later), what’s next for you to do is to fill out your account information to successfully purchase web hosting and to receive your domain name.

 

Bluehost—Create Your Account

 

Throughout this sign-up process, you’ll also be able to select how long you’d like your account plan to be (either for 1, 2 or 3 years) under Package Information. With the longer your account plan being, the more discounted price you’ll receive.

 

Please keep in mind that you will have to pay in full upfront. Which we know, the pricing on the plans can be a little tricky.

 

Bluehost—Package Information

There are also Package Extras that are automatically added to your plan. We really only recommend having the Domain Privacy Protection extra, but you can always add it later if you wish.

Paying for Web Hosting—How to Start a Blog

 

Lastly, what’s left to do is fill out your payment information. You have the option to either pay with card or PayPal. 

 

Once you’re all set, simply agree to the terms and services and congratulations! Your blog is one step closer to launch! All that’s left is to customize it and add your content.

 

Step 5: Customizing your Website

 

Now, after you’ve successfully made an account with Bluehost, you’ll be sent a confirmation email and directed to create your account.

 

Bluehost Confirmation

 

Which simply consists of you creating your password.

 

create a password

After doing so, you’ll be taken to the Bluehost login page, where you’ll be able to log into your account by entering your newly created password.

bluehost login

 

Next, Bluehost will ask you a couple of questions that they will use to help recommend you plugins, themes and extensions. If however you simply wish to get started on your blog, you can skip these steps.

Now just before you begin building your blog, you will have the opportunity to select a theme for your blog. You’ll see that there various different themes you can select, depending on the type of blog you’d like to create.

We personally use the Ocean WP theme, but we also recommend the Astra and Hello Elementor themes as well.

Keep in mind that if you don’t happen to find a theme you like at the moment, you can always select one later. Also, if you don’t happen to like the theme you chose, you can always change it!

Theme Selection—How to Start a Blog

After completing this proccess, WordPress will be then automatically installed for you and you’ll be directed to your Bluehost portal, which will look something like this.

Bluehost Dashboard

Here, you’ll be able to access your site(s), domains, email (you’re given a free domain email address) and the Bluehost MarketPlace.

Once you’re ready to begin building your site, simply click on the blue WordPress button, which will take you to your WordPress dashboard.

Wordpress DashBoard

At first glance, the dashboard may seem bit intimidating. But it’s honestly a very simple and user-friendly interface, and you’ll definitely get the hang of it as you continue to use the platform.

Anyways, here on the WordPress dashboard, you’ll be able to oversee everything going on with your blog, along with being able to customize it with features such as menus, themes and widgets!

Which we’ll cover how to do so all throughout this guide!

Plugins

Now, we want to dedicate a fair bit of time talking about plugins, because they’re a super cool feature that WordPress offers!

So, if you don’t happen to know what plugins are, they are little bits of software (most are free) that you can add to your blog to enhance and extend its functionality! They add extra features that otherwise wouldn’t be found on the default WordPress platform.

Best of all, they work seamlessly with WordPress, which means you don’t have to worry about messing around with any code or having to go through some super complicated downloading process.

Functions of WordPress Plugins

Now there are nearly 54,000 available plugins that you choose from. Which means that there is a plugin for just about any situation you may need, whether the feature is small or large.

For example, if you’re looking to transform your website into an online store or maybe you just want to add a simple contact form, it can be done with a plugin. 

Below as you’ll see are many popular categories of plugins that can be found on WordPress. They include:  

  • SEO

  • Security 

  • E-Commerce 

  • Page Builders

  • Analytics   

Remember however, that this, of course is just scratching the surface! 

How to Install a Plugin 

 

To install a plugin, simply head over to your WordPress dashboard, then on your left, go to Plugins > Add New.

 

wordpress plugins

After doing so, you’ll be taken to the Plugin Directory, where you’ll be able to search and choose from the thousands of plugins available!

Wordpress Plugin Directory

As an example, we’re gonna go ahead and install Elementor. Which is a plugin we HIGHLY recommend! It’s a drag-and-drop page builder that allows you to create beautiful and stunning pages—with no coding required or experience—on any theme!

So as you’ll see, we’ll just simply type in the name of the plugin on the search bar.

Elementor Plugin

And all that we’ll have to do next, is to simply install the plugin and activate it! And it’ll automatically be integrated with our blog to use.

Elementor Ultimate Tutorial

By the way, be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide on Elementor, which will take you through all the cool features the plugin has to offer, along with how to use them! Also, don’t forget to check out our list of the Top 10 Plugins We Recommend!

 

Step 6: Create and Add your First Post as a Blogger

 

So you’re just about ready to share your first post with the world! Which is awesome!

 

But before we get into that, it’s important to know the distinction between the two different types of content you can choose to create on your blog . 

 

They include :

 

  • Posts – Otherwise known as blog posts, posts, appear on your blog page and are ordered in reverse chronological order, meaning your oldest posts appear last. 

 

  • Pages – Pages are static (never changing) and are separate from a blog. An example of a page can be an “About Us” page on your blog. 

 

As you’ll see on your dashboard, you can choose to add either a post or page to your website. 

 

Pages and Posts—Wordpress

Add a Post  

 

To add a (blog) post, simply go to Posts > Add New. This will open up the WordPress page editor, where you can begin drafting your piece!

 

wordpress page editor

Now truth be told, the page editor is fairly limited and kind of awkward to use. Which is why we prefer to use Elementor whenever we create a post or page.

And so, up above, you can see that you can edit your post with Elementor (if you’ve installed the plugin).

Doing so, will open a blank canvas page similar to this.

Elementor Canvas Page

Here, you can select and add from the various widgets Elementor offers (by dragging and dropping the widgets in the checked box)! Which includes images, videos, text and more.

Once you’re satisfied with your content, you can preview it to see how it will look once it’s live by clicking on the eye icon you see down below.

preview

Customizing Your Side Bar (Widgets)

If you’d like to customize your sidebar or footer (bottom sidebar) go to Appearance > Widgets on your WordPress dashboard.

Customize Sidebar and footer

Here, you’ll be able to arrange, select and delete the widgets you wish to appear (or not to) on your sidebar.

Before You Publish Your Post 

 

Now before you publish your very first blog post (and for all that follow), you want to make sure to do a couple of things, that will help you in your efforts in driving organic search traffic. These things include:

 

 

Optimizing Your Permalink’s 

 

If you don’t happen to know what a permalink is, it’s a term used for the URL of a post or page featured on your website. It’s made up your domain name and slug (which identifies the content).

 

Now by default, WordPress will auto-generate a permalink for your post (or page). The only problem is that the permalinks they produce, aren’t the best. They can sometimes be complicated and hard for users to understand.

 

And so, when you’re getting ready to publish your post, you want to edit a simple and easy-to-understand permalink, that tells readers what they’re in for when they click on your site through search engines. Additionally, you want to make sure that this permalink is something that you won’t be changing anytime time soon! Because changing a post’s URL can hurt, it’s rankings.

 

So to optimize your Permalinks, you can do so by going to the WordPress page editor on your post, and selecting Permalink in the far right. Then you can input the permalink you’d like, but making sure you’re following good practices.

 

Permalinks

Optimize Meta and Title Descriptions  

 

Now, the last thing you want to do before you publish your post, is to optimize it’s meta and title description. Which is the information users see on search engines.

Meta Titles And Description

To do so, you can use the help of an SEO plugin. We recommend using Yoast. 

Now, once you’ve successfully installed and activated Yoast, you’ll see that when you go back to the post you were previously working on, there’ll be a section dedicated to helping you optimize your title and meta descriptions (along with other features as well).

Yoast

If you’re struggling with how to word or organize you meta and title descriptions, just do a simple search and see what your competition is doing.

Publishing Your Post   

 

You’re now about ready to publish your post! Congratulations! We know that there was some work to it, but following these practices will definitely pay off as you look to drive search traffic.

 

So to publish your post go to the very top of the page editor and hit publish! And your post will now be live for the world to see!

Add a Page 

Adding a page to your blog is really just the same process as adding a post.

 

Simply go to Pages > Add New. Then as we did with posts, simply go to edit with Elementor.

 

adding a page

And again, you’ll be taken to the canvas page where you can add widgets as you choose.

Now, what’s really cool about Elementor, is that it also offers pre-built page templates and blocks you can use to help you get started!

Simply click on the file icon in the checkered box and it will open up the library.

You’ll see that have you a wide selection of options to choose from (with some being free and others paid for). 

And once you find a page or block that you like, just simply hover above it and hit insert. And it’ll be added to your page (you can edit the template as well if you’d like)!  

Add a Navigation Menu

So now that you have created and published a page, you want to can create a navigation menu which will allow users to find your content. We’ve actually already covered how to do this in another post. So please be sure to check it out!

Blog Settings

 

Now that you have created your very first post and page, you have the option to choose where you’d like your posts to appear. 

By default, WordPress displays your latest posts on your homepage. If however you want your posts to appear on a separate page, go to your WordPress dashboard and at the very bottom, go to Settings > Reading.

Homepage Settings

You can select what page you’d like to display your posts (from the ones you’ve created), as well as the amount that are displayed.

Important note: leave the Search Engine Visibility box unchecked! This is what will allow your posts to appear on search.

Step 7: Promoting Your Blog

 

It’s not enough to simply write great content and hope that the world finds it—you need to make sure that your audience sees your work, which will require some extra effort on your part. 

 

The problem is, every profitable niche is likely to have at least a few blogs that are also operating in an attempt to earn money, just like yours. If you don’t make sure that your promotional measures are more effective than those of your competition, you might be drowned out and relegated to background noise. 

 

There are two main steps that you can take to promote your blog as a whole, as well as your individual pieces of content: promote your site on social media, and get to work on search engine optimization (SEO). 

 

Promote Through Social Media

 

You can probably guess what promoting your blog on social media entails; it involves letting your friends know that you’ve started a blog and promoting your posts on your personal pages, as well as possibly starting some social media pages for your blog itself. 

 

If you feel at all uncomfortable putting your work out there for all of your friends, family members, and acquaintances to see, don’t be—the people in your life will love to see that you’re pursuing something you’re passionate about. Still, if you’d prefer to invest your energy more heavily in promoting your blog on social media accounts that are dedicated exclusively to business, that’s understandable and totally acceptable. 

 

 

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

 

Now, you may be less familiar with SEO than social media, and it’s likely that you’re somewhat daunted by the prospect of tackling optimization on your blog. SEO simply means formatting your site and your content to address the guidelines of search engines (particularly Google) as closely as possible. It as well includes other factors that play into how well your blog can rank on search engines.

 

SEO is hugely important for driving traffic to your site, so there’s no excuse for skimping on your search engine optimization strategy, even if the concept goes way over your head at first.

 

Fortunately, the Internet is teeming with resources for beginners looking to learn SEO, and simply utilizing relevant keywords and building links in your blog posts will go a long way toward improving your SEO and helping your content rank for search engine results.

 

When you’ve mastered some SEO basics, you’ll see that more and more people are finding your blog organically, which puts you on the fast track to monetizing your content.

Making Money From Your Blog

 

Though it might seem like you’re getting ahead of yourself, you should start considering how you would prefer to monetize your blog from the very beginning as it will affect how you approach virtually every aspect of your blogging career. 

 

You’ve head the old saying, “always dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” and by the same logic, you should always create content for the income streams that you seek long-term. This is not to say that your plans can’t evolve over time and that you aren’t free to seek new avenues as your blog develops, it is simply to state that the way you handle your blog will be shaped by your ultimate monetization goals.

 

For example, if you would ultimately like to break into affiliate marketing where you provide product reviews on items within your niche for your audience and receive a commission for everyone who purchases one of those items using your referral code, then start writing those sorts of reviews right away, even though you obviously won’t be partnering with brands in the beginning. 

 

This will make for a less jarring transition for your readers once you do begin monetizing for blog, and it will make your platform more appealing to businesses. Try to envision how you would ultimately like your blog to function once it is making money, and then curate a blog that looks as close to that as possible right from the start. 

 

Remember, you should never start a blog with only short-term goals on your mind—it may take months or years of attempting to break into your preferred type of monetization before it happens, but positioning yourself early on in your blogging career means it’s far more likely to happen eventually. 

 

When you do start making money, don’t be afraid to switch gears. It’s okay to try out new methods for making money off of your blog, so long as you stay authentic to the roots that you established and don’t alienate your loyal audience. 

 

As long as you are working hard, staying true to yourself, and maintaining the trust you have established with your readers, there are no rules about how you should grow your blogging business, and your earning potential is entirely uncapped.

 

Blogging FAQs

A blog is a diary-styled, regularly updated website created for the purpose of sharing information with others on a particular subject or matter. 

 

Content featured on a blog comes in the form of a post and is displayed in reverse chronological order. Meaning that your most recent published posts will appear first on your blog page.

 

Many often have a hard time differentiating a blog between a website, which is perfectly understandable as they are both websites. Crazy right!?

 

The difference however lies in that a blog is a type of website that’s content is frequently updated, in the form of posts. For example, a fitness blog might provide it’s audience with new health loss plans or foods to eat every week or so in the form of a post.   

 

On the other hand, a regular website features content in the form of a page, which is static. This means that its content (pages) are not frequently updated.

An example of this can be a business website that only features its products and services, which requires minimal updates.

 

So to conclude: blogs are websites that are regularly updated. Traditional websites are static and are not updated frequently.

 

A question that arises very often among the blogging community is that of: “Do you need to be an expert (of some sort) in a particular field to begin blogging?”.   

 

And well to truthfully answer that question, you don’t have to be any kind of field expert at all. We believe that rather than expertise, experience, is a much better teacher and it is something that everyone can share with the world. 

 

Simply ask yourself, what is something that I enjoy doing and have had experience with, that others might appreciate help with? This can as well apply to products that you may have used in the past, that you enjoyed or that satisfied your needs efficiently. 

 

Remember! Your experience and knowledge can create an awesome blog that provides value that serves others

 

So you may be wondering which option are you better off with? A blog or a website? And to really tackle that question, it depends on what specifically you’re looking to create. 

 

Most blogs aim to inform and engage with their audiences on a particular subject or problem. This can be anything from a cooking and fitness blog, to a spiritual and personal blog where users come to seek community. 

 

On the other hand, a website moves towards providing more specific information regarding an entity, product or service. Though now, there are many powerful platforms (CMS) that allow you to easily have both!


Yes you heard that right! Most platforms such as WordPress allow you to easily add a blog onto your website. Enabling you to get the best of both worlds.

So why bother with a blog anyways? Well blogs are AWESOME for many reasons such as:

 

  • Are a great way for sharing and helping others on a particular subject or matter.  

  • Ability to build a community where people with similar interest can gather, support and discuss with each other.

  • Ability to monetize your blog using a number of different strategies. 

  • Allows businesses to keep their audiences updated with any news, products, promotions etc. 

 

Last but not least, you’re able to share your awesomeness with the world!

Conclusion

 

As you prepare to set out on your online blogging journey, you’re actually readying yourself for one of the greatest adventures you’ll ever encounter. This is a critical juncture where you can transform your life for the better, as long as you’re willing to truly apply yourself to the process. 

 

A blogging career comes with its fair share of difficulties, and as you can see based on the steps outlined in this guide, it will take some work to get your blog up and running, but when you bring passion and dedication to this calling, you’re bound to find that success and fulfillment await you.

 

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